News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 17, 2013

Top ’o the mornin’ fun at annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — When Pope Benedict XVI stepped down last month, some people worried about having a new pope and a living, former pope at the same time.

Imagine the confusion of a whole truck load of popes!

In Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade on Ohio Boulevard, a smaller version of the famous “Pope Mobile” carried more than a dozen St. Patrick’s School kindergartners — all wearing their own versions of the papal mitra, the tall white hat often worn by popes, and happily tossing candy to the crowd.

It was just one of dozens of attractions in the annual parade, which drew a large crowd of spectators stretched over about 10 blocks of the boulevard, despite chilly conditions.

The 36th annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations started at 10 a.m. with a 5K walk/run. The parade started at 1 p.m. followed by the annual St. Pat’s dinner at 6 p.m. at St. Patrick’s School. Betty Seprodi was this year’s honorary mayor for the parade.

Just before the parade, Radio Disney, a syndicated radio program based in California, put on a show at The Meadows shopping center nearby. For 90 minutes, young people working for Radio Disney entertained hundreds of kids, gave away prizes and conducted contests, such as a hula hoop contest and a dance contest.

“She’s always dancing,” said Rebecca Pettet of her daughter, Makayla Deal, 7, whose solo dance moves won the most applause in one of the dance contests. “She loves to dance.”

The Radio Disney entertainment coincided again this year with a “literacy celebration” taking place inside The Meadows, featuring hundreds of books written by area elementary school students. Last year, temperatures were in the 70s, but this year, they were barely in the 40s, keeping many people inside.

“We come for the literacy fair” but stayed for the Radio Disney program, said Andrew Garber, whose son Corbin, 8, was also a crowd favorite in a dance contest.

“My favorite move is the ‘Monkey,’” Corbin said, energetically demonstrating the move by waving his arms up and down on the large patio on the west side of The Meadows. Corbin also took part in the “toilet role” contest earlier in the show, he said.

Earlier Saturday, Layla Johnson, 5, put up a good effort to nearly win a Radio Disney hula hoop contest, only dropping her hoop when the contest called for her to begin clapping her hands over her head while she hula hooped at the same time.

“She loves to hula hoop,” said Jessica Johnson, Layla’s mom. Layla learned the nearly-lost art in pre-school, she said.

Radio Disney is a syndicated radio program available in 31 markets, including Indianapolis. It also provides music on the Internet at www.radiodisney.com.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com